By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Bruce Cassidy has a new first to add to his tenure as the Black and Gold’s head coach.
But it’s hardly one he wants, as the Bruins’ losing streak has now hit five (their worst since a five-game slide in Mar. 2016), after Thursday’s 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena.
This loss followed a similar pattern to Wednesday’s defeat in DC, too, as the Bruins opened the night’s scoring behind a goal from a member of their superpowered top-line thanks to Patrice Bergeron’s 10th of the year, but saw their lead evaporate thanks to some power-play domination from the hometown Bolts.
Lightning captain Steven Stamkos was the first to break through on Tuukka Rask, as a botched clearing play behind the Boston net allowed the Bolts to get the puck to a wide-open Stamkos, who did not miss on what was his 12th goal of the season.
Deadlocked at 1-1 through 40 minutes of play, Tampa Bay jumped out front on a Brayden Point finish at the 4:07 mark of the third period (and on the power play), and extended their lead to two with Stamkos capitalizing on a John Moore turnover.
Moore would make up for his mistake with his first goal of the year, scored 1:32 after No. 91’s second goal of the evening, but it would not be enough, as the Bruins sputtered and failed to truly pressure the Bolts in a 6-on-5 advantage.
Rask made his share of ten-bell saves throughout the evening — his second-period leg stop on Stamkos on the doorstep and third-period sliding glove save on Nikita Kucherov were obvious highlights — but took a loss behind a 28-of-31 performance. It’s just the second time the 32-year-old Rask has suffered back-to-back regulation losses this season.
Boston’s man advantage struggled yet again, too, finishing with 0-for-2 and landing just two shots on Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy (27 saves by the night’s end) over the course of that two-opportunity stretch.
The Bruins will head to Sunrise for a Saturday night meeting with the Panthers.